Artificial cranial deformationADDPMP668
A form of body alteration in which the skull of a human being is deformed intentionally by flattening or binding the head with a force. Flat shapes, elongated ones (produced by binding between two pieces of wood), rounded ones (binding in cloth), and conical ones are among those chosen or valued in various cultures.
Deformation typically begins a month after birth, as the skull is most pliable at this time, and continues for about six months, until the desired shape has been reached.
Intentional cranial deformation predates written history and was practiced commonly in a number of cultures that are widely separated geographically and chronologically: Huns, Ostrogoths, Maya, Ancient Egyptians, Mangbetu… It still occurs today in a few areas, including Vanuatu.
One modern theory is cranial deformation was likely performed to signify group affiliation, or to demonstrate social status. Such motivations may have played a key role in Maya society, aimed at creating a skull shape that is aesthetically more pleasing or associated with desirable cultural attributes. It has also been considered possible that the practice of cranial deformation originates from an attempt to emulate those groups of the population in which elongated head shape was a natural condition.
To date, there is no statistically significant difference in cranial capacity between artificially deformed skulls and normal skulls.